Feature

Ambrose Akinmusire: The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier to Paint

“Somewhere down the road there’s a masterpiece in Ambrose Akinmusire.”

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“Somewhere down the road there’s a masterpiece in Ambrose Akinmusire,” said Jeff Simon in The Buffalo News. Already the most exciting young trumpet player in jazz, the 31-year-old is now composing music that freely mixes jazz, classical, and alternative avant-pop. “What surrealism was to gallerygoers in the 1920s this music is to the jazz and advanced pop audience of 2014”—something brand new made from familiar parts. Akinmusire has enlisted guest singers Theo Bleckmann, Cold Specks, and Becca Stevens to perform lead vocals on some of his new compositions, and on those tracks, Akinmusire wisely resists flaunting “his impressive brass chops,” said Davis Inman in Downbeat.com. But he’s loaded this 79-minute record with “strikingly expressive highlights,” said Chris Barton in the Los Angeles Times. Though it’s “not always easy to follow his wandering ear,” it’s “engrossing to try.” The question remains: “Where will he go next?”

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